Notable Chicago Bears cut becomes potential answer if Detroit Lions have an offensive line need

If things go a certain direction for the Detroit Lions in free agency, a veteran offensive lineman cut by the Chicago Bears now lands as a potential answer.

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It was not a huge surprise the Chicago Bears cut veteran offensive lineman Cody Whitehair this past week. His level of play declined last season, and they could not justify carrying him at his salary and cap number.

Whitehair has spent his entire career in Chicago, earning one Pro Bowl nod as a center back in 2018. He eventually shifted completely to left guard, starting there almost exclusively over the last three seasons. His overall grade from Pro Football Focus fell to a career-low 45.0 this past season, which was nearly a 21-point drop from 2022.

There's a world where the Detroit Lions have substantial turnover on their interior offensive line this offseason. Guards Jonah Jackson, Graham Glasgow and Halapoulivaati Vaitai are free agents. Vaitai seems likely to consider retirement, so it really boils down to if they lose one or both of Jackson and Glasgow.

Despite a down season in 2023, Jackson may command a lot of money on the open market and he should have some other options. Glasgow earned himself a raise with his performance this past season, and he has openly acknowledged wanting to make more money.

Detroit Lions free agency: Cody Whitehair a solution to fill possible offensive line void?

Since he was cut when he was, Whitehair can sign with a new team before the new league year starts on March 13. What kind of market he'll have in that meantime is unclear.

The Lions won't make an immediate move to sign Whitehair before the league year starts. That would give away that they expect to lose at least one of Jackson or Glasgow, which is presumably to be determined in both cases right now. But they could kick the tires on Whitehair now, and line him up as a potential pivot if he remains available and they have a need to fill.

Whitehair PFF's grade came in at No. 73 out of 79 eligible guards in 2023. But he was PFF's 28th-best guard in 2022 (65.9 overall grade). A new team would be gambling a little that he can rebound back toward his 2022 version.

At a low cost, with experience (118 career starts) and versatility, Whitehair is a potential fit for several teams who need offensive line help. The Lions can be penciled in somewhere on that list right away, pending having said need for an experienced interior offensive lineman.

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